The 2022 NBA Draft is over, and the Kings grabbed Iowa’s Keegan Murray with the 4th pick. This decision has received a lot of criticism from all of the so-called “experts”.
Originally, this article was going to defend the Kings. Like Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery, I felt like the Kings and Keegan Murray were unjustly criticized.
I have seen the “one pick away from greatness” graphic that was all over social media hours before the draft.
Is missing on Lillard, Thompson, and Luka by one worse than say Portland missing on Michael Jordan and Kevin Durant by one? Or Utah missing out on Chris Paul, Devin Booker, Paul George, and Serge Ibaka by just one? Of course not.
Just the usual media throwing shade the Kings way.
I have read how the Kings should have traded back, yet the “experts” don’t understand that Detroit was happy to get either Murray or Ivey, so they weren’t making offers.
Or that before the draft, Jake Fischer reported that two teams who were interested in the 4th pick were targeting Murray.
The Kings continue to receive plenty of trade interest for the No. 4 selection, where the Pacers, Knicks, San Antonio Spurs and Washington Wizards and others have made efforts to leapfrog in the lottery. Of those teams, it’s believed the Pacers and Spurs are targeting Iowa forward Keegan Murray, while New York and Washington have their sights set on Purdue combo guard Jaden Ivey.
I keep seeing articles claiming Ivey was the “best player available” when Murray was the best player in college last season.
He’s one of two players in college basketball history with 800-plus points, 60-plus three-pointers and 60-plus blocks in one season, the other: Kevin Durant of the Brooklyn Nets.
He was also college basketball’s most impactful player in terms of winning last season. He led the nation with 8.7 win shares, a metric that estimates the number of wins a player produces for his team throughout the season. He also led the country with a plus-15.7 plus/minus, meaning Iowa was 15.7 points per 100 possessions better with him on the floor than with average production from another player.
He is a better shooter, scorer, rebounder, and defender than Ivey. When an “expert” calls him the “Most NBA ready” prospect in the draft, that is code for he is the best player at the moment.
That doesn’t mean he has the most potential/highest ceiling, but that he is further along in his development than the other prospects.
Just like Haliburton and Davion Mitchell, the Kings chose the best player available.
I was going to discuss that when it comes to the draft, the NBA and “experts” love two things: Youth and athleticism.
Murray is older, having spent a season at DME Academy, and his athleticism isn’t on par with some of the most athletic players in the NBA.
If he were younger and more athletic (because of course that’s what decides a great player), he would have been in the discussion for the top pick in the draft.
However, after reading Murray’s comments about feeling slighted his whole life and how he always has a chip on his shoulder, I want the talking heads, social media, and everyone on the internet to doubt this kid.
If all of the doubting has fueled him to where he is today, internet, please, keep fueling him. Tell him he shouldn’t have gone number 4. Tell him Ivey is better. Tell him that the Sacramento Kings made a mistake and will go nowhere with him.
Do us Kings fans a favor and give him more bulletin board material. The more the better.
I don’t know if the Kings will regret passing on Ivey. We won’t know for a couple years, but until we do, I will continue to believe that drafting the best player available is always the right choice.